ACT English : Introductions, Transitions, and Conclusions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Humanities: This passage is adapted from chapter three of Sir John Lubbock’s The Pleasures of Life. The chapter is entitled “A Song of Books” and was written in 1887.

Of all the privileges we enjoy in this nineteenth century there is none, perhaps, for which we ought to be more thankful than for the easier access to books.

The debt we owe to books was well expressed and articulated by Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, author of Philobiblon, written as long ago as 1344, published in 1473, and the earliest English treatise on the delights of literature: "These,” he says, “are the masters who instruct us without rods and ferules, without hard words and anger, without clothes or money. If you approach them, they are not asleep; if you interrogate them, they conceal nothing; if you mistake them, they never grumble; if you are ignorant, they cannot laugh at you. The library, therefore, of wisdom is more precious than all riches, and nothing that can be wished for is worthy to be compared with it. Whosoever therefore acknowledges himself to be a zealous follower of truth, of happiness, of wisdom, of science, or even of the faith, must of necessity make himself a lover of books.” 

This feeling that books are real friends is constantly present to all who love reading. “I have friends,” said Petrarch, “whose society is extremely agreeable to me; they are of all ages, and of every country. They have distinguished themselves both in the cabinet and in the field, and obtained high honors for their knowledge of the sciences. It is easy to gain access to them, for they are always at my service, and I admit them to my company, and dismiss them from it, whenever I please. They are never troublesome, but immediately answer every question I ask them. Some relate to me the events of past ages, while others reveal to me the secrets of Nature. Some teach me how to live, and others how to die. Some, by their vivacity, drive away my cares and exhilarate my spirits; while others give fortitude to my mind, and teach me the important lesson how to restrain my desires, and to depend wholly on myself. They open to me, in short, the various avenues of all the arts and sciences, and upon their information I may safely rely in all emergencies. In return for all their services, they only ask me to accommodate them with a convenient chamber in some corner of my humble habitation, where they may repose in peace; for these friends are more delighted by the tranquillity of retirement than with the tumults of society.”

“He that loveth a book,” says Isaac Barrow, “will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter. By study, by reading, by thinking, one may innocently divert and pleasantly entertain himself, as in all weathers, so in all fortunes.”

The author is considering adding the following sentence to the end of the second paragraph:

"But if the debt were great then, how much more now."

Should the author make this addition?

Possible Answers:

No, because the author has already made a similar comparison between the present and the past in the first paragraph.

No, because references to the present in paragraphs three and four are not clear enough to make the addition helpful.

Yes, because the appreciation of books that the author describes in the past is not adequate evidence for the author's claim.

No, because the author is not concerned with the present. 

Yes, because a link to the present is crucial to the author's argument.

Correct answer:

No, because references to the present in paragraphs three and four are not clear enough to make the addition helpful.

Explanation:

There are no clear references to the appreciation of books in the present as contrasting with their appreciation in the past; thus, the sentence is unhelpful and unnecessary. 

Example Question #2 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

This year, my New Year's resolution was to not buy any more books until I had read all of the books I already had. But, after getting fifty dollars for my birthday, I couldn't resist stopping by the library's used book sale.

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose “NO CHANGE.”

Possible Answers:

That is,

Additionally,

NO CHANGE

For instance, 

Moreover,

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

Here, “But” is the best transition word. “But” implies a contrast, and there is indeed a contrast between the idea expressed in the first sentence (making a commitment not to buy more books) and the idea expressed in the second (stopping by the book sale). The relationship of the second sentence to the first is not that of an example, an additional detail, or a clarification, which is why the other answers are not correct.

Example Question #3 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

My mother was born in China. Additionally, she emigrated to the US when she was twenty-seven, but she was never able to get used to this country. She was used to haggling in loud, bustling street markets—not walking through the silent, orderly rows of American grocery stores. She also never became fluent in English; filling out forms and writing business letters confused her.

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose “NO CHANGE.”

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

However,

For example,

OMIT the underlined portion and begin the sentence with the word “She”

Accordingly,

Correct answer:

OMIT the underlined portion and begin the sentence with the word “She”

Explanation:

Here, the best correction would be to delete the word “Additionally” and to use no transition word. The word “additionally” is usually used in a list or when you are adding details on to a description; however, in this case we do not have a list, and the first two sentences are more action rather than description. The relationship of the second sentence to the first is also not an example, a contrast, or a necessary event, which is why the other answers are not correct.

Example Question #4 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

The truth is, I kinda hate my brother. Can you blame me? We're always fighting. Today, he "borrowed" my favorite book and now its ripped in two.  Likewise, my brother and I like to play sports together. We both bond over games like volleyball, and basketball. We both play real good. We even were considering trying out for the high school team together.

What is the best alternative for the underlined word, "Likewise"?

Possible Answers:

Hence,

Nevertheless,

For instance,

Furthermore,

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

Nevertheless,

Explanation:

The author is contrasting negative feelings he/she has regarding his/her brother with more positive feelings towards the brother. Therefore, a transition word that shows contrast is the best option. "Likewise" shows similarity, "For instance" shows an relationship of clarification, while "Hence" and "Therefore" imply causation. "Nevertheless" implies a contrasting relationship between ideas and is the best choice.

Example Question #5 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Many people believe that the current admissions process for colleges is detrimental for high school students. They claim that current admissions standards place a lot of emphasis on things that do not actually measure a child's success in college, such as standardized test scores. They also believe, that there is an augmented attitude among youth of insincerity, as they do community service just or pretend to be interested in activities solely for admissions. 

On the other hand, some believe that there is nothing wrong with the admissions process: any insincerity is a result of active choices on the part of the student, as well as an increase in competition for colleges resulting from economic and social trends. Also, they believe that colleges are in the right for looking for active, rounded students involving in their school and community, and they perceive that there is nothing wrong in encouraging students to have more involvement.

Which of the following is the best alternative for the bolded phrase, "On the other hand"?

Possible Answers:

Instead

NO CHANGE

Likewise

In fact

Indeed

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The phrase "On the other hand" is used to indicate a contrast between ideas, and that is correct in this instance: the first paragraph describes the thoughts of people who disagree with the college admissions process, while the second paragraph describes the thoughts of people who agree. "Likewise" and "Indeed" both indicate similarity of ideas, which is incorrect. "In fact" implies that the second paragraph is an example of the first, which is also incorrect. "Instead" is incorrect because it implies the second paragraph is a substitute for the first. 

Example Question #6 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Growing up, I used to find math very tedious. I abhorred algebra, couldn't stand geometry, and 1. was just hating trigonometry. I was sure calculus would be no different. 2. That was until I met, my calculus teacher, Ms. Sweed. 3. Calculus being the subject she taught, she used it to show me how 4. math makes our world go around.

 5.Ms. Sweed was very educated, having two master’s and a PhD. 6. I can still remember one day that she talked to me after class after one of the first tests we took in class I had done not as well as I had wanted. When I went to talk to her after class, she told me that she thought I was very smart and could do better if I tried. I began to come to talk to her after class every day for extra study. 7. She only used these extra sessions to not help me understand the math, but showed how math can be used to apply to real life. She showed how math could be used to explain many natural phenomena. 8. However, she showed how math can be used to analyze patterns from studies. I never thought I would say math was my favorite subject, but with Ms. Sweed teaching, it was. 

9. (1) Trying to use Mrs. Sweed’s wit, enthusiasm, and dedication, as I tried to inspire other students. (2) I even started to do well enough in math to start tutoring other students. (3) I never would have been able to do so without meeting Ms. Sweed. (4) I was soon one of the top tutors in our school, and I helped dozens of students increase their grades. [10] Thanks to her inspiration, I’ve decided to look into the field of engineering. 11. Now, an engineering major taking many math classes in college. I enjoy every single one of them. 12. Math is a subject everyone can enjoy.

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

I had never saw myself being into math

I never saw myself being into math.

It was Mrs. Sweed's dedication to my learning that completely changed my approach to math. 

Math is a subject that every high school student should master.

Correct answer:

It was Mrs. Sweed's dedication to my learning that completely changed my approach to math. 

Explanation:

This option is the best as it introduces the idea of Ms. Sweed helping the author to enjoy math through working with her. The other options are off-topic.

Example Question #81 : Writing And Revising Effectively

Growing up, I used to find math very tedious. I abhorred algebra, couldn't stand geometry, and 1. was just hating trigonometry. I was sure calculus would be no different. 2. That was until I met, my calculus teacher, Ms. Sweed. 3. Calculus being the subject she taught, she used it to show me how 4. math makes our world go around.

5.Ms. Sweed was very educated, having two master’s and a PhD. 6. I can still remember one day that she talked to me after class after one of the first tests we took in class I had done not as well as I had wanted. When I went to talk to her after class, she told me that she thought I was very smart and could do better if I tried. I began to come to talk to her after class every day for extra study. 7.She only used these extra sessions to not help me understand the math, but showed how math can be used to apply to real life.She showed how math could be used to explain many natural phenomena. 8. However, she showed how math can be used to analyze patterns from studies. I never thought I would say math was my favorite subject, but with Ms. Sweed teaching, it was.  

9. (1) Trying to use Mrs. Sweed’s wit, enthusiasm, and dedication, as I tried to inspire other students. (2) I even started to do well enough in math to start tutoring other students. (3) I never would have been able to do so without meeting Ms. Sweed. (4) I was soon one of the top tutors in our school, and I helped dozens of students increase their grades. [10] Thanks to her inspiration, I’ve decided to look into the field of engineering. 11. Now, an engineering major taking many math classes in college. I enjoy every single one of them. 12. Math is a subject everyone can enjoy.

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

And,

Contrastingly,

Hence,

NO CHANGE

Also,

Correct answer:

Also,

Explanation:

The author is showing another aspect of math that Ms. Sweed taught him/her, which is an example of adding ideas. The transition word, "also," shows an addition of ideas. The original transition word, "however," or the word "contrastingly" is not the right word to use here, because the ideas are not contrasting. "Hence" shows a cause/effect relationship, which is also not applicable here. "And" is a conjunction, and can't be used to start a sentence.

Example Question #82 : Writing And Revising Effectively

Growing up, I used to find math very tedious. I abhorred algebra, couldn't stand geometry, and 1. was just hating trigonometry. I was sure calculus would be no different. 2. That was until I met, my calculus teacher, Ms. Sweed. 3. Calculus being the subject she taught, she used it to show me how 4. math makes our world go around.

 5.Ms. Sweed was very educated, having two master’s and a PhD. 6. I can still remember one day that she talked to me after class after one of the first tests we took in class I had done not as well as I had wanted. When I went to talk to her after class, she told me that she thought I was very smart and could do better if I tried. I began to come to talk to her after class every day for extra study. 7.She only used these extra sessions to not help me understand the math, but showed how math can be used to apply to real life.She showed how math could be used to explain many natural phenomena. 8. However, she showed how math can be used to analyze patterns from studies. I never thought I would say math was my favorite subject, but with Ms. Sweed teaching, it was. 

9. (1) Trying to use Mrs. Sweed’s wit, enthusiasm, and dedication, as I tried to inspire other students. (2) I even started to do well enough in math to start tutoring other students. (3) I never would have been able to do so without meeting Ms. Sweed. (4) I was soon one of the top tutors in our school, and I helped dozens of students increase their grades. [10] Thanks to her inspiration, I’ve decided to look into the field of engineering. 11. Now, an engineering major taking many math classes in college. I enjoy every single one of them. 12. Math is a subject everyone can enjoy.

Which is the best concluding sentence for the passage? 

Possible Answers:

And we all know that math is great.

I am thinking of going to grad school.

I may have thought that math was tedious, but all it took was one inspirational teacher to show me that nothing is more interesting.

Ms. Sweed has one master's in engineering as well.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

I may have thought that math was tedious, but all it took was one inspirational teacher to show me that nothing is more interesting.

Explanation:

The correct answer maintains focus on how Ms. Sweed affected the narrator's interest in math, and it references the beginning. 

Example Question #82 : Writing And Revising Effectively

“Bach and German Hymnody” by Matthew Minerd (2016)

The great German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach was a member of a prodigiously talented musical family. A significant number of Johann Sebastians ancestors and descendants were musicians of various levels of talent.Although he was known for music of a variety of forms, one of his most enduring legacies is the repertoire of chorale music by which he improved and solidified the world of German congregational singing.

During the period after the Protestant Reformation, a number of hymns were written for use in the common worship of the Christians of the time. The structured form of these compositions were well suited for congregational singing although they would sound strange to our contemporary ears. The harmonies and meters of these hymns are very close in character to the music with which we are familiar. However, they lack some of the standard structural elements that we take for granted in this form of organized Western music. These small differences would stand out to our sensibilities.

It was the great glory of Johann Sebastian to have harmonized a great number of these hymns, often penning multiple such harmonies. One single melody might be made by Bach into three, four, or even five different harmonic compositions. This amazing feat of musical prowess is no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren. Many of these harmonies remain to this day as classic renditions of these songs. They are sung not only in the German world but in Protestant and Catholic services. Indeed they are even sung in wholly secular concerts thanks to their great beauty!

This great diffusion of one mans’ work is a testament to his prodigious talent. It also stands as a testament to the fact that Bach’s work came at a pivotal time when the Protestant hymnody was crystalizing, as well as when Western harmonies were coming into a particular expression that is known as the Baroque.

Which of the following would be a good addition after the underlined and bolded sentence?

Possible Answers:

The broad appeal of Bach's music is regularly recognized in concerts, ceremonies, and recitals.

For this reason, the beauty of Bach's music remains a testimony to the greatness of his soul and the talents of all Western musicians who perform it.

This development of Western harmony structure would remain an important aspect in all of Western music for years to come.

None of the other answers

This rupture in musical styles would set the stage for many new advances in years to come.

Correct answer:

This development of Western harmony structure would remain an important aspect in all of Western music for years to come.

Explanation:

The overall point of the passage is that Bach's work was a development that helped to carry forward certain developments in harmonies in Western music. As it is written, the closing paragraph is okay, though it trails off a little. Thus, the correct answer helps to "round out" the closing paragraph's reiteration of the main theme of the selection.

Example Question #83 : Writing And Revising Effectively

There once was a shepherd boy whom sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. He was hot and exhausted fanning himself, rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down. On top of that, he had never been so bored before. 

To amuse himself, he decided to play a joke. He put his hands around his mouth and yelled in a loud voice, "Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is chasing the sheep!”

They came running. They asked the boy, “What’s going on? Did you yell ‘A wolf is chasing the sheep?’ ”

The boy laughed. “It was just a joke, everyone.”

The people fumed, but they all returned to their homes.

The next day, the boy bored again decided to amuse himself again. He bellowed, “Wolf! Wolf!”

Again, the townspeople came running. Once they arrived and witnessed the laughing boy, they realized they’d been tricked a second time. Nonetheless, they returned home and irritated resolved to never fall for the trick again for third time.

The next day, the boy was watching his sheep. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a wolf appeared from behind the bushes. With its teeth bared, the boy cowered as the wolf approached the sheep. Terrified, he called, “Help! A wolf! A wolf is here!”

The people ignored his cries. “That mischievous boy,” they all said to one another. “He must think he can fool us again.” But not one of them came running.

No one was there to witness as the wolf ate every last sheep on the hillside, as the boy helplessly cowered behind a bush. As the boy hid, he shook his head. “I shall never fib again,” he resolved to himself.

Which is the best alternative for the underlined word, "Nonetheless"?

Possible Answers:

On the other hand

NO CHANGE

Therefore

Likewise

Instead

Correct answer:

Therefore

Explanation:

The sentence here is a cause-effect relationship. The townspeople left irritated because they realized that the boy had tricked them. "Nonetheless" and "on the other hand" show a contrast between ideas, which does not apply here. "Instead" shows one action replacing another, while "likewise" shows a similarity of ideas, both of which also don't apply here. "Therefore" is the best answer.

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